Okay! No problem with your masthead suasion. We listen, around here.
Gary writes at Escaping Christian Fundamentalism, Does the Shroud of Turin prove that Jesus had a Human Father?
One other thing about the Shroud of Turin I find shocking is that believers claim the shroud has blood on it with AB blood type. How is it that Jesus had a recognizable blood type? We each obtain our blood type by receiving one allele from each of our parents. Here is an example:
“How are ABO alleles inherited by our children? Each biological parent donates one of their two ABO alleles to their child. A mother who is blood type O can only pass an O allele to her son or daughter. A father who is blood type AB could pass either an A or a B allele to his son or daughter.”
You can’t obtain both an “A” allele and a “B” allele from your mother! So Jesus would only have one allele, from his mother, as his father was a ghost.
Do ghosts have a blood type???
The Shroud of Turin is either a fake or Jesus had a human father!
Of course, there is always the tried and true fall back: God went “poof” and Jesus was given AB blood by magic.
Okay. Now it is your turn to listen. I count at least 50 postings on the subject of blood type in this blog. That is for starters, just to get you acquainted with the subject. I’m sure we will have something to say about your argument.
What a confused posting. Either Jesus’s conception is explicable in biological terms, or it was the result of an “outside-the-laws-of-physics” miracle. If the latter, then yes of course God could have given him whatever blood he chose. If the former, then either he had a human father, or was the product of some form of cloning, implantation or recombinant DNA process with which we are not familiar. I do not think any of these preclude an AB blood type, and finding AB blood on the Shroud does not preclude any of those possibilities.
Possibly a more pertinent question concerns the sex chromosomes, quite independently of the Shroud, and which has also been discussed here previously. The path to maleness or femaleness originates at the moment of “meiosis” when a cell divides to produce sex cells or gametes having half the normal number of chromosomes. A male XY cell divides to produce sperm, half of which is X and half of which is Y. A female XX cell divides each producing an egg, all with one X cell. If a Y sperm fertilises an egg, it produces a male XY; if an X sperm fertilises an egg it produces a female XX. So the mystery is, “If Jesus was truly a man, where did he get his Y chromosomes from?”
Now aberrations do occur, and in fact the whole history of life forms has depended on them, successful aberrations surviving and being passed onto new generations to become new life forms, less successful aberrations dying out. For examples several disorders are associated with abnormal numbers of chromosomes, but conceivably other more benign aberrations might also occur.
A related theological question is, “In what way way is Jesus both God and man?” The stock answer is that he did not have a human father, and the evangelist’s account only relates in the angel’s message to Mary “That the power of the Most High will overshadow thee.” This probably suffices for the state of contemporary medical knowledge of the time, but is somewhat lacking in modern biological detail.
We might speculate that it was God’s plan that Mary should have some chromosome cell aberration, enabling her to pass on a Y chromosome, possibly inherited from her father, or it may have involved some other unusual variation, or it might just have been some kind of miracle. Some things I guess, we are just not entitled to know, and it need not affect one’s faith, unless one adopts a particularly and possibly unjustifiably dogmatic view of biology. Variations from the norm can and do occur.
Surely this is one of the all-time stupid arguments against authenticity. If Christ’s conception was miraculous, obviously God can create him any way that he wants. We are taught that he was human like us in all ways except sin. To try to impose on God the rules of the natural world as we know them is ludicrous. He makes the rules and can bypass them as he wishes.
“He makes the rules and can bypass them as he wishes.” Yes but that might create philosophical problems. I think it may have been the Council of Nicea that determined after several “heresies” in the early Church that had merely sought a solution to the problem, that Jesus was truly God and truly man. If Jesus is truly man, then God has placed a deliberate temporary limit on Himself as to how He might manifest the second person of His trinitarian self. I should think He can go only so far without abandoning this agenda of adopting a truly human nature. If He went beyond that limit, it might be said that in fact the worldly manifestation of Jesus was not in fact truly human at all, but actually something else, and that might be a problem in asserting the truth of his human nature. The AB blood type and XY chromosome questions do I think raise teasing problems. Perhaps the answer might lie in the quantum! Or more likely the answer is in our limited human understanding and in the limited way we can use language to express supernatural truths.
The Virgin Birth has nothing to do with Christian fundamentalism, as the author seems to imply. Biblical scholars says that it was a firm belief before AD 70, and,as a matter of fact, the oral tradition appears have to have been so strong that it reached Islam, where Mary is mentioned 33 times.
The Virgin Birth would be not only outside the laws of physics but also outside the laws of biology.
The funny side of the story is that sometimes some conservative scholars become liberal and liberals become conservative when it comes to certain issues. Some insist, for instance, that there was a “regula fidei” before Iranaeus, before the Church Fathers began to write. Another source of controversy is “Kyrios” in Greek, “Mare'” in Aramaic, that, is “Lord”. It is used of Yahveh in11QtgJob24,6-7. As it is used in the NT, was it applied to the pre- or post-Easter Jesus?
daveb, I don’t see the philosophical problem. What matters is the end result of Jesus being fully human, not the process by which that is achieved. Clearly, virgin birth, no human father contribution of DNA, and powers unknown to any other human being place Jesus outside the realm of other human beings and their natural origins. What matters is whether Jesus as incarnated by God through Mary is a human being like we are; i.e., he shares all essential human traits except the propensity for sin. For that matter, we cannot really understand what it means to be both fully human and fully God. How does that union exist and is it different for the child Jesus than for the adult Christ? But arguments that the formation of Jesus–including his blood type–must follow the norms of other human creation have neither philosophical credence nor even common sense, in my opinion.
Jim, Any study of the first 500 years of Christian literature will demonstrate that the problem of the duality of Christ exercised very many great minds of the period, many heresies arose in various attempts to get human minds around the problem. It was even a popular public topic in the Greek market places.
“Arianism, which denied Christ’s essential divinity, aroused an all-pervasive reaction in the 4th century; the task of the first two ecumenical councils, at Nicaea (325) and Constantinople (381), was to affirm the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity. In the 5th century the Christological question moved to the fore, and the Council of Chalcedon (451), completing that of Ephesus (431), defined Christ as one person in two natures. The Christological controversies of the 5th century were extremely complex, involving not only theological issues but also issues of national concerns—especially in the Syrian-influenced East, where the national churches were called non-Chalcedonian because they rejected the doctrinal formulas of the Council of Chalcedon.” [Encyc Brit]
The ‘one person in two natures’ is a convenient formula within the human limitations of language to express a supernatural truth, and it is evident that it did not find universal acceptance outside of the establishment orthodoxy. It continued to exercise many great minds even well after Chalcedon. Perhaps to some extent it is merely semantics and a playing with words, in terms limited by mere human experience. And of course all of this occurred outside of our modern understanding of detailed human biology.
It might be argued that ‘to share all human traits’ is not necessarily to be fully human. How, for instance, is it to be fully human without having a human father? The scientific questions concerning AB blood type and the necessity of Y chromosomes to be male, perhaps raise modern issues to be addressed. I don’t pretend to have the answers to these questions, and perhaps the mystics might have a better answer than the theologians. We are taught by a church, which although divinely inspired and led by the Spirit, still comprises only human teachers using human language. There is a greater Truth. A scriptural verse keeps coming to my mind, ‘ “My ways are not your ways” saith the Lord. ‘ Perhaps we can do no better than that and accept it.
Well said, daveb. Well said, indeed. To come full circle, my problem is with those who use various arguments to whittle God down to our size and then use those conclusions to reject a truth that stands in obvious contrast to the assertions; e.g., whether the Shroud of Turin can be the burial cloth of Jesus Christ without complying with all of the known rules of biology and physics. I find that particular line of inquiry pointless and usually foolish.
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